Most of us rely on colleagues at work to find a good restaurant, accountant or plumber. But a kidney?One Jersey City man who had waited years for a kidney transplant finally found his donor among his wife’s colleagues at PNC Bank.
Jaime David de León was on kidney dialysis and had spent four years on the transplant waiting list at Saint Barnabas Medical Center, according to the NJ Sharing Network, which matches organ donors and patients.
Rather than keep waiting, he decided to be evaluated for an experimental procedure that allows recipients to receive a non-compatible kidney. His wife, Theresa de León, was tested as a possible non-compatible donor, but was ruled out for medical reasons.
Then she told her husband’s story to Ken Wenger, a colleague at PNC Bank where she works.
Wenger, a PNC senior vice president of wealth management, already knew a lot about kidney trouble. His brother was born with one kidney and Wenger always figured that he’d donate a kidney to his brother some day. But Wenger said his brother is in good health and told him “I am never going to need your kidney.”
Wenger volunteered to donate his kidney to De León, and it turned out to be a good match. Saint Barnabas did the procedure in 2007.
“I was shocked that he was on dialysis for so long. I talked to my wife and said, ‘I want to take care of this,’ ” he said.
De León will lead one of the 300 teams participating in NJ Sharing Network’s Annual 5K Walk and Race on June 8 in New Providence, the network’s largest fundraiser of the year.
“It’s my way of saying thanks,” he said.
Individuals can sign up for the NJ Sharing Network 5K, or register to become an organ and tissue donor, at www.NJSharingNetwork.org or call 1-800-742-7365.
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